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Group wants to end setting dogs on chained bears

Aug 23, 2010 7:15:00 AM - thestate.com
A declawed, defanged bear is chained to a stake as hunting dogs bark and snap at it, trying to force the bear to stand on its hind legs so hunters can shoot it more easily. The practice called bear baying is only allowed in South Carolina.

Armed with new undercover video of four such events, the Humane Society of the United States is pressuring state officials to explicitly outlaw the practice, which the organization says is effectively banned in every other state. Animal rights advocates say it's cruel to the nearly defenseless bears and harms them psychologically.

Hunters say the exercise popular in the state's hilly northwestern corner helps them train their dogs on what to do when they come across a bear during a hunt.

State law on the issue is murky. Statutes banning animal fighting have a specific exemption for dog training. And while South Carolina's attorney general says animal cruelty laws prohibit bear baying, he hasn't prosecuted any cases.

The videos, which were provided exclusively to The Associated Press, show an adult black bear standing on all fours, its back to a 4-foot high wooden fence, tethered to the ground by several feet of chain. Crowds of a few dozen line the dirt pen around it.

USA, South Carolina: (Latest Stories)